NHL Rumor Mill – April 23, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – April 23, 2020

Recent speculation on the Oilers, Flames, and Red Wings in today’s NHL rumor mill.

OILERS

SPORTSNET: In a recent mailbag segment, Mark Spector was asked if the Edmonton Oilers might bring back Taylor Hall if they can shed some salary. He felt there’s zero chance of the 28-year-old winger returning to Edmonton, pointing out the Oilers already carry several players with expensive contracts. “I think it’s a dream Oilers fans should wake up from. Hall’s not coming back,” wrote Spector.

(NOT MARK) SPECTOR’S NOTE: I agree with “Cousin Mark”. Hall returning to the Oilers is a pipe dream. Stop pining about what could’ve been and look forward.

Jesse Puljujarvi’s future remains an off-season question for the Edmonton Oilers (Photo via NHL Images).

Asked out the most likely scenario for Jesse Puljujarvi, Spector said the Oilers prefer he returns and plays for them. If he doesn’t, they could let him spend another season in Finland (where he’ll make less money), or trade him at the draft for perhaps two second-round picks, or a second and a prospect (the Oilers lack a second-rounder in this year’s draft). Spector thinks Puljujarvi should return to the Oilers on a one-year deal and prove he can still play.

(STILL NOT MARK) SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see how the Oilers handle this situation. Puljujarvi’s done well in Finland (53 points in 56 games), but that’s not much of an indicator whether he can be an effective NHL player.

Asked if Sam Gagner might sign with the Oilers as an unrestricted free agent, Spector believes he will. He’d be an affordable signing, his home is in Edmonton, and Oilers general manager Ken Holland could see Gagner as a future member of the front office.

(THE OTHER ) SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gagner is completing a three-year deal worth an annual average value of $3.15 million. He’s not getting that much ever again, but he could be a decent fourth-line pickup for the Oilers (or somebody else) on a one-year, $900K contract.

FLAMES

SPORTSNET: Eric Francis recently opened up the mailbag to address questions from Calgary Flames fans. Asked if the Flames might shake up their core, Francis doesn’t believe they will. Acknowledging the production of stars like Johnny Gaudreau is down this season, he feels the early end to this season ensures Gaudreau will return next season. He thinks players like Gaudreau and Monahan shouldn’t be shopped until they’ve had a shot at redemption.

(THE BETTER-LOOKING) SPECTOR’S NOTE: I didn’t put any stock into the trade rumors involving Gaudreau and Sean Monahan this season. Yes, their production was down this season, but they’re only a year removed from their respective career-high point totals. They’re still in the mid-twenties and very much in their playing prime. Unless they asked to be moved, they’re not going anywhere.

Francis thinks the Flames will kick tires on Taylor Hall if he tests the UFA market but believes they’ll use their cap space to plug holes in their defense corps than overspending on Hall. He also doesn’t see both T.J. Brodie and Travis Hamonic returning next season but Brodie could stay.

Francis also sees the Flames attempting to re-sign UFA goalie Cam Talbot or taking a stab at Vancouver’s Jacob Markstrom or Vegas’ Robin Lehner. He doesn’t think they’ll try to buy out Milan Lucic’s contract, pointing out he fills an effective physical role, as well as his popularity with his teammates and among Calgary fans.

Asked if interim coach Geoff Ward will remain as their bench boss after this season, Francis believes he will, citing GM Brad Treliving saying he’s seen enough to make his decision. Following a shaky start, the Flames turned things around under Ward, who has a year remaining on his contract.

RED WINGS

THE DETROIT NEWS: Ted Kulfan recently weighed in with his thoughts on what Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman will do with his 12 restricted free agents.

Tyler Bertuzzi will likely get a long-term deal. Anthony Mantha’s situation could be more complicated. He could sign a one-year deal to post up big numbers before his UFA eligibility in two years, or the Wings could ink him to a four- or five-year deal believing he’ll keep progressing.

Kulfan believes Robby Fabbri has shown enough this season to be part of the Wings’ short-term future. He expects Adam Erne to be re-signed but feels he must take a bigger step forward.

He wouldn’t be surprised if the Wings cut ties with Madison Bowey and Brendan Perlini.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 3, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 3, 2020

Leon Draisaitl tallies four goals against the Predators, the three stars of the week, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Leon Draisaitl tallied four goals and Connor McDavid had four assists as the Edmonton Oilers thumped the Nashville Predators 8-3. The Oilers broke a 3-3 tie with five unanswered third-period goals. With 78 points, the Oilers moved within two points of the first-place Vegas Golden Knights in the Pacific Division. The Predators (72 points) cling to the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference. Draisaitl (107 points) holds a big lead in the NHL scoring race. He also moved into fourth place (43 goals) in the goal-scoring race.

Leon Draisaitl had a five-point game in the Edmonton Oilers’ 8-3 win over the Nashville Predators (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Barring injury or a significant scoring drought, Draisaitl has the Art Ross Trophy locked up for this season. He’s also put himself into the running for the Richard Trophy as the league’s top goal scorer, and should be a serious contender for the Hart Trophy as MVP. 

The Colorado Avalanche (87 points) edged the Detroit Red Wings 2-1 to move within one point of the Western Conference-leading St. Louis Blues. Michael Hutchinson made 17 saves in his debut with the Avs. Colorado rookie defenseman Cale Makar missed the game with an upper-body injury and is listed as day-to-day. The Wings, meanwhile, played without winger Adam Erne, who could miss the remainder of the season with a broken hand.

Minnesota Wild winger Kevin Fiala, Nashville Predators defenseman Ryan Ellis, and Colorado Avalanche goaltender Pavel Francouz were the NHL’s three stars for the week ending March 1.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets winger Josh Anderson underwent shoulder surgery on Monday and will need four-to-six months to recover.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There was considerable interest in Anderson leading up to last Monday’s NHL trade deadline, but uncertainty over the status of his injury likely scared off potential suitors. His status as a restricted free agent with arbitration rights who’s also a year away from unrestricted free agent status could make him a fixture in this summer’s rumor mill.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: The San Jose Sharks indicated defenseman Jacob Middleton is week-to-week with a lower-body injury. They’re also believed to have agreed to a four-year, $8-million contract extension with blueline Radim Simek, though this hasn’t been confirmed by general manager Doug Wilson.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Sidelined Pittsburgh Penguins defensemen Brian Dumoulin and John Marino are close to returning to the lineup. Both are game-day decision’s for tonight’s contest against the Ottawa Senators.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: And not a moment too soon for the struggling Penguins, who’ve dropped six straight games.

TORONTO SUN: Sidelined Maple Leafs blueliners Morgan Rielly and Cody Ceci have returned to practice and could rejoin the lineup sometime next week.

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Jets defenseman Josh Morrissey is expected to return to action tonight against the Buffalo Sabres after being sidelined for four games with an upper-body injuy. Winger Patrik Laine (left foot injury) could also return tonight.

OTTAWA SUN: Senators goalie Marcus Hogberg is returning to Sweden for family reasons. The club hopes to provide a further update shortly.

SPORTSNET: The NHL has no plans to make any changes to its emergency backup goalie rule.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 15, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 15, 2019

Updates on Zach Werenski and Kyle Connor, the Lightning trade Adam Erne to the Red Wings, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Defenseman Zach Werenski’s agent, Pat Brisson, expects his client will re-sign with the Columbus Blue Jackets before training camp opens in September.

“I have been in communication with the Jackets throughout the summer,” said Brisson. “It’s our intention to have an agreement in time for camp. I’m most certain we will be continuing our talks in the near future.”

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets winger Kyle Connor is hopeful of signing a long-term contract. The restricted free agent also hopes to avoid missing training camp next month.

Winnipeg Jets winger Kyle Connor hopes to have a new contract before training camp opens in September (Photo via NHL Images)

“That’s definitely the plan,” he said. “A player never wants to miss time in training camp. It’s tough coming in, not getting that preparation and time with the teammates in practice. But things happen, so we’ll see. I’ll be prepared if it happens.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: None of the unsigned RFAs want to miss the start of training camp. I’m sure all of them, especially Mitch Marner, saw how Toronto Maple Leafs winger William Nylander struggled after missing almost half of last season to a contract standoff with management.

With about a month until training camps open in September, there’s plenty of time for these players to sign new deals. I anticipate we’ll see a flurry of signings in early/mid-September.

TAMPA BAY TIMES/THE DETROIT NEWS: The Tampa Bay Lightning yesterday traded left wing Adam Erne to the Detroit Red Wings in exchange for a four-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A rare mid-August NHL trade. With $9.3 million in salary-cap space and most of that headed to restricted free agent center Brayden Point, there wasn’t enough for the Lightning to retain Erne. He’ll probably be replaced with an affordable call-up or UFA signing.

The rebuilding Wings land a young (24) winger with some NHL experience and the potential to contribute more with increased playing time. He’ll get that opportunity in Detroit.

VANCOUVER SUN: A Canucks spokesperson said the club has no current plans for the upcoming season to retire the number of Roberto Luongo but the club is “sure his name will be included in future discussions.” They also acknowledged Luongo’s 20-year NHL career, including the eight seasons he spent with the Canucks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I expect the Canucks will retire Luongo’s number at some point. The future Hall-of-Famer was a big reason why the Canucks rose to dominance in the Western Conference from 2008-09 to 2012-13, including their march to the Stanley Cup Final in 2011.

Luongo is the Canucks all-time leader in career wins (252), shutouts (38) and second all-time in goals-against average (2.36), games played (448) and save percentage (.919). He’s also the single-season leader in games played (76), wins (47), and shutouts (nine).

SPORTING NEWS: Former NHL goaltender Eddie Lack yesterday announced he won’t be signing with an NHL club this season, focusing instead on recovering from a hip injury suffered in the minors last season. He revealed he played through hip pain throughout the past six seasons. As he rehabs, Lack will be the goaltending coach at Arizona State University.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best of luck to Lack in his recovery. If he’s unable to continue his playing career, perhaps he’ll have a future in coaching.

THE SCORE: Seattle general manager Ron Francis said the expansion NHL franchise will reveal its new name in early 2020.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 12, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 12, 2018

Updates on John Tavares and Oliver Ekman-Larsson, the latest notable contract signings and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

Former New York Islanders captain John Tavares apologized to Isles fans regarding his decision to sign with the Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo via NHL Images)

  NEWSDAY: In a recent Players Tribune article, former New York Islanders captain John Tavares apologized to Islanders fans for things not working out regarding his decision to depart via free agency. He signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs on July 1.

Tavares also apologized for the club falling short of winning the Stanley Cup during his captaincy, expressing his gratitude for their support. He described how he agonized over trying to decide if he’d stay or join the Leafs, his hometown team.

ARIZONA SPORTS: Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson donated $125,000 to the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Scottsdale.

DETROIT NEWS: The Red Wings re-signed forward Anthony Mantha to a two-year, $6.6-million contract.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning re-upped left wing Adam Erne to a one-year, $800K deal.

SPORTSNET: The Toronto Maple Leafs signed forward Frederik Gauthier to a two-year, two-way deal worth $675K annually at the NHL level.

NBC SPORTS: With his playing career drawing to a close, NHL winger Brian Gionta is contemplating his future, which could include coaching.

WGR 550: The Buffalo Sabres have hired Steve Smith as an assistant coach. He spent the past four seasons as an assistant coach with the Carolina Hurricanes.

BOSTON HERALD: With long-time anthem signer Rene Rancourt retired, the Bruins are taking applications for his replacement.